Redefining the Classroom

LSSU survey crews placing nets in St. Mary's River as part of EPA study

Posted: May 28th, 2005

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – St. Mary’s River boaters should be aware that Lake Superior State University researchers will be placing nets at 10 sites in the river for several weeks beginning Tuesday, May 31.

The nets are being used to sample fish populations as part of a $715,000 environmental study funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

LSSU faculty and students will be using four fyke (hoop) nets and one 100-foot experimental gill net as part of their assessment. Nets will be set for 24 hours at each of the sites. Two of the sites are above the St. Mary’s River rapids and eight are scattered from the rapids to the north end of Neebish Island in places around Cook Island, Churchville Point, Mission Creek, Baie de Wasai, 11 Mile Road and the Charlotte River. The same sites will be surveyed again in August. All sites are in U.S. waters.

“We tried to design the study so that it will have a minimal impact on the resource,” said Marshall Werner Ph.D., director of the LSSU study. “The fish caught in the fyke nets will be released. Those caught in the gillnet will be used in the chemical analysis part of our study.”

Werner said most of the sets are in shallow water or in places where boating is difficult. However, boaters should be alert around one site, near the mouth of Mission Creek, where the channel is narrow.

“That site is important to our study because of the EPA Super Fund cleanup that’s going on at the lime piles that are near the headwaters of Mission Creek,” Werner said.

Werner said he appreciates the cooperation of the community in areas where the survey crews are working.

“Area property owners have given us permission to get to the sites through their land, and the Michigan DNR and Sault Tribe offices have the schedules for our netting,” he said.

Residents with concerns or questions about the study can find more information at They may also contact the LSSU Public Relations Office, 906-635-2315 or

Read more about the EPA study at –LSSU-